What is the Christmas Bonus and do you qualify?

What is the Christmas Bonus?

Some people on benefits will receive a Christmas bonus of £10 in the first week of December. It may only be a small bonus, but every little helps at this expensive and busy time of year. If you do receive the Christmas bonus then you won’t have to pay it back as it isn’t a loan. This one-off payment is tax-free and won’t affect any other benefits.

Who can get the Christmas Bonus?

To be eligible for the Christmas Bonus payment, you must have been a resident in the UK, Europe, or Gibraltar and been receiving one of the following benefits in the qualifying week (1st full week of December):

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance (Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
  • Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (after the first 13 weeks of claiming)
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit (long-term rate)
  • Industrial Death Benefit (widows or widowers)
  • Mobility Supplement
  • Pension Credit (guarantee element)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
  • War Disablement Pension (at State Pension age)
  • War Widow’s Pension
  • Widowed Mother’s Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension

You will not get the Christmas Bonus if you are not entitled to any of these qualifying benefits and you also are not claiming a State Pension.

How do you claim the Christmas Bonus?

If you are eligible for the Christmas Bonus then you should be paid the £10 automatically without having to claim it. The payment should go into whichever account you usually have your benefits paid into. This might show up under “DWP XB” on your bank statement for December. Contact the Jobcentre or the DWP if you should get a payment but don’t.

Will couples get the Christmas Bonus?

If both you and your partner are receiving a qualifying benefit, then you should both be entitled to the Christmas Bonus. You should each get a payment of £10 even if you are married, in a civil partnership, or living together. Your partner could still receive a Christmas Bonus of their own even if they don’t receive a qualifying benefit. This only applies if your partner was also resident and both of you were over State Pension age in the qualifying week, and the only qualifying benefit that you receive is Pension Credit. Call the Jobcentre or Pensions Centre if you only get one.

Pension Payment Dates Christmas 2019

0843 178 4241

If you are receiving the State Pension, your payment dates will probably be affected by the Christmas bank holidays. The Pension Credit payment dates are also likely to be amended due to this. Please bear in mind that if your payment is due on a day that is not a bank holiday, then you will still receive the money on this date and should not receive the payment early. The affected Christmas 2019 pension payment dates are as follows.

Early Pension Payment Dates 2019

Payment Due Payment Sent
Wednesday 25th December
(Christmas Day)
Tuesday 24th December
(Christmas Eve)
Thursday 26th December
(Boxing Day)
Tuesday 24th December
(Christmas Eve)
Wednesday 1st January
(New Year’s Day)
Tuesday 31st December
(New Year’s Eve)

If your payment date falls on a bank holiday then you should be paid on the working day before this date instead. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not bank holidays and both fall on working days directly before bank holidays this year. This means that even if you do receive an early payment, it will only be 1 day early. It should not disrupt your regular outgoings. Contact the DWP if you do not receive your pension payment.

Pension Winter Fuel Payment

If you are claiming the State Pension and you were born on or before 5th April 1954, then you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment. This is a bonus payment from the government to help vulnerable elderly people to pay for heating their homes during the winter. Eligible people should automatically receive a payment of £100 – £300 (depending on their age and circumstances). The payment should arrive in your account from November – December 2019, or by 13th January 2020 at the very latest.

If you do not receive a Winter Fuel Payment you are eligible for, you may have to make a Winter Fuel Payment claim or contact the Pensions Office.

What is maternity discrimination and how to protect yourself

Whether you are eligible to receive Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance, or the Maternity Grant during your pregnancy, the law will protect you against discrimination while you are pregnant and also for several weeks after the birth. The Equality Act 2010 deems unfavourable treatment and direct discrimination against certain characteristics to be unlawful. One of these things which it is illegal to discriminate against is pregnancy or maternity. Read this guide on how to recognize maternity discrimination and what you can do about it if this does happen to you.

Continue reading What is maternity discrimination and how to protect yourself

Am I paying too much National Insurance?

What is National Insurance and who has to pay it?

You can learn more about National Insurance in our guides here and here. Find out what it is and what it is for, and then read this guide to check if you are paying too much National Insurance. Learn what to do if you are paying the wrong amount of National Insurance to amend it.

Continue reading Am I paying too much National Insurance?